April 2019

Sri Lanka Christian massacre ‘shocking in its cruelty’

April 23 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that targeted Christians and killed at least 290 people have prompted calls to prayer by Southern Baptists who work to take the gospel to South Asian people groups.
 

Screen capture from CBS News
Easter suicide bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka targeted Christians and left at least 290 people dead.

“As we process the news of attacks on Easter services today in Sri Lanka, our hearts are grieved,” the Southern Baptist workers said as a group in written comments. “We weep with those who weep ... As we reflect on the living hope we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3), let us not forget to stay armed for the battle and continuing incessantly in prayer. Let us run this race hard with our brothers and sisters in Christ and intercede for one another and for the lost.”
 
The Sri Lankan government accused a local militant Islamist group, the National Thowheed Jamaath, of carrying out nine April 22 bombings, according to media reports. The government also said a foreign network likely was involved in the attacks. Intelligence in the government’s possession before the bombings allegedly indicated Thowheed Jamaath was planning attacks against churches and hotels.
 
More than a third of those reported dead were killed in nearly simultaneous suicide bombings at three Roman Catholic churches in the region of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital and largest city. The blasts occurred between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m. local time, The Washington Post reported.
 
Three hotels were hit by suicide bombers at the same time, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Three other sites also were bombed.
 
In addition to the dead, at least 500 others were injured. Police have arrested 21 people in connection with the bombings, according to The Post. Three police officers were killed as they raided a suspect’s house.
 
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted, “The governing authorities must bring this anti-Christian terrorist cell, and any who empowered them, to justice. The shedding of innocent human blood is always an atrocity; an attack on Easter is further shocking in its cruelty.”
 
The attacks came amid what persecution watchdog Morning Star News called “persistent” “violence and harassment against Christians” in Sri Lanka, an island nation southeast of India and about the size of West Virginia.
 
“Cases of intimidation, discrimination, threats, violence, false allegations, legal challenges, demands for church closures, police inaction and demonstrations persist in Sri Lanka but are rarely reported in mainstream media,” Morning Star reported in February.
 
Following the Easter bombings, Morning Star noted that “while Christians in Sri Lanka have suffered at the hands of radical Buddhists and, increasingly, hard-line Hindus, attacks by Muslim extremists have been rare.”
 
Sri Lanka ranked 46th on Open Doors’ 2019 list of the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian.
 
Residents of Sri Lanka are 70 percent Buddhist, 13 percent Hindu, 10 percent Muslim and 7 percent Christian, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.
 
Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, urged Sri Lankan authorities “to hold the perpetrators accountable to [the] fullest extent possible under the law. As we have said before and will continue to say: No one should fear for their safety because of their faith – least of all inside houses of worship.”
 
At least 27 foreigners, including several Americans, were among the dead, AP reported.
 
In the wake of the attacks, the International Mission Board requested prayer:
 
– “For those who have lost family members to be comforted by the God of all comfort.
 
– “For those who are injured to receive needed care.
 
– “For those who can’t find family to be reconnected.
 
– “For believers to be the hands and feet of Christ and to pour forth a sweet aroma. Hearts are hurting.
 
– “That God would use this situation to draw men and women, boys and girls to Himself ... for His honor and glory.”

4/23/2019 9:44:44 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Nominees selected by 2019 SBC Committee on Nominations

April 23 2019 by Baptist Press Staff

Nominees to serve on the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, the four denominational boards – International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, and GuideStone Financial Resources, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the six seminaries, and the Committee on Order of Business – have been selected by the 2019 SBC Committee on Nominations.
 
Nominees will serve if elected by the messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 11-12 in Birmingham, Ala.
       
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (86 members): 24 nominations considered; 10 new members; 14 re-nominations.
 
Nominees with term to expire in 2023 replacing members ineligible for re-election include Jae Min Lee, layperson and member of Richmond Baptist Church, Richmond, Calif., replacing Pat Pavlian, Highland, Calif; Rod D. Martin, layperson and member of Rocky Bayou Baptist Church, Niceville, Fla., replacing James A. Ray, Clearwater, Fla.; Ricardo E. Avila, layperson and member of Amistad Cristiana International Church, Gainesville, Ga., replacing William V. (Bill) Prince, Hazlehurst, Ga.; Alan S. Krober, pastor, Mililani Baptist Church, Mililani, Hawaii, replacing Christopher D. (Chris) Metcalf, Lihue, Hawaii; James F. Freeman, layperson and member of Country Meadows Baptist Church, Independence, Mo., replacing Lovina K. Rush, Kearney, Mo.; Barbara A. Norris, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Waskom, Texas, replacing Carol A. Yarber, Malakoff, Texas.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2022 is Archalena B. Coats, layperson and member of Kingdom Covenant Church, Miami, Fla., replacing Stephen N. Rummage, Brandon, Fla., who resigned.
 
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 is Douglas R. Duncan, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Dyer, Tenn., replacing Tony L. Crisp, Riceville, Tenn., who resigned.
 
Nominated for term to expire in 2020 are Erik D. Cummings, pastor, New Life Church of Carol City, Miami, Fla., replacing Michael A. (Adam) Hollingsworth, Tallahassee, Fla., who resigned; Jeremy D. Morton, senior co-pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., replacing Ken Alford, Valdosta, Ga., who resigned.
 
Nominated for second term are Paul S. Hicks, Hayden, Ala.; Chad Garrison, Havasu City, Ariz.; Harry C. (Archie) Mason, Jonesboro, Ark.; Richard W. Spring, Hesperia, Calif.; Charles W. Frazier, Benton, Ky.; Philip J. Robertson, Deville, La.; Guy L. Frederick, Sheboygan, Wis.; Abbott J. (Jay) McCollum, Gallup, N.M.; Joe Knott, Raleigh, N.C.; Dave L. Bryan, Mustang, Okla.; Kim Grueser, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Dwight M. Easler, Gaffney, S.C.; Robyn A. Hari, Franklin, Tenn.; Jared C. Wellman, Arlington, Texas.
      
GUIDESTONE FINANCIAL RESOURCES (43 trustees): 12 nominations considered; 6 new trustees; 6 re-nominations.
           
Nominees with term to expire in 2023 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election include J. Rodney Bledsoe, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala., replacing Rick L. Lance, Montgomery, Ala.; Jay Strack, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., replacing Kenneth C. (Ken) Whitten, Lutz, Fla.; Margaret Gibson, layperson and member of Christ Church, Goshen, Ky., replacing Robert S. (Rob) Gibson, Goshen, Ky.; Julie Dilbeck, layperson and member of Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., replacing David W. Morley, Enid, Okla.; Lenna F. Smith, layperson and member of Church at Blue Ridge, Greer, S.C., replacing Michael S. (Mike) Hamlet, Spartanburg, S.C.; Christopher A. Zook, layperson and member of Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, replacing E. Scott Turner, Plano, Texas.
           
Nominated for second term are Dennis W. Adams, Cornville, Ariz.; Joshua D. (Josh) Goepfrich, Warsaw, Ind.; J. Steven (Steve) Dighton, Lenexa, Kan.; D. Odean Busby, Magee, Miss.; Charles T. Brake, Rochester, N.H.; Randall T. (Randy) Hahn, Colonial Heights, Va.
 
INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD (76 trustees): 30 nominations considered; 19 new trustees; 11 re-nominations.
           
Nominees with term to expire in 2023 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election include James H. (Jim) Cooley, pastor, First Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala., replacing F. Max Croft, Scottsboro, Ala.; Charlotte B. Madison, layperson and member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala., replacing Jay L. Wolf, Montgomery, Ala.; James W. (Wes) George, pastor, First Baptist Church, Rogers, Ark., replacing Don McDonald, Fort Smith, Ark.; Vernon A. Wittenbach, layperson and member of Ogletown Baptist Church, Newark, Del., replacing Timothy L. (Tim) Simpson, Boyds, Md.; Lee B. McCarty, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Lake, Miss., replacing Marvin (Rick) Dunbar, Jr., Madison, Miss.; James W. Barnhart, associate pastor, Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, Mo., replacing Robert G. (Gary) Barkley, Excelsior Springs, Mo.; Carson (Glenn) Steen, layperson and member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Lancaster, S.C., replacing Claude Anthony (Tony) Smith, Westminster, S.C.;
           
Also nominated for term to expire in 2023 are John E. Hinze, pastor, First Baptist Church, Tucumcari, N.M., replacing Barbara Carlson, Ruidoso, N.M., who resigned; Sarah J. Davenport, layperson and member of Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, N.C., replacing Rob J. Peters, Winston-Salem, N.C., who resigned; Sam E. Greer, pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn., replacing Jordan Easley, Cleveland, Tenn., who resigned.
           
Nominated for term to expire in 2022 are Christopher Martin, state executive director and member of Makakilo Baptist Church, Kopolei, Hawaii, new member from Hawaii; R. Marshall Blaylock, pastor, First Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C., replacing Joseph B. Ratcliffe, West Columbia, S.C., who resigned; William T. (Tommy) Turner, pastor, First Baptist Church, Paris, Texas, replacing Robert Welch, Jr., Brownsboro, Texas, who resigned; Adam Madden, pastor, Christ Fellowship Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, new member from Utah; Daniel R. Brubeck, pastor, North Cheyenne Baptist Church, Cheyenne, Wyo., new member from Wyoming.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 are Bruce L. Roach, layperson and member of Cross Roads Baptist Church, Minot, N.D., new member from N.D.; Jonathan L. Newkirk, layperson and member of The Journey Church, Paola, Kan., replacing Nathan H. Gunter, Lansing, Kan., who resigned; Daniel S. Lambert, pastor, Easthaven Baptist Church, Kalispell, Mont., new member from Montana.
           
Nominated for term to expire in 2020 is Thomas A. (Tom) Hoffman, pastor, Fairview Loop Baptist Church, Wasilla, Alaska, new member from Alaska.
           
Nominated for second term are Lisa A. Lovell, Fayetteville, Ark.; Brian Zunigha, Riverside, Calif.; Ken W. Gross, Fresno, Calif.; Morgan D. Kerr, Savannah, Ga.; John Waters, Statesboro, Ga.; Nathaniel Bishop, Jr., Louisville, Ky.; Chuck Pourciau, Shreveport, La.; Andrew M. (Andy) Davis, Durham, N.C.; Deron J. Biles, North Richland Hills, Texas; Ron Phillips, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas; Gary M. Mathena, Roanoke, Va.
           
NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD (52 trustees): 13 nominations considered; 3 new trustees; 10 re-nominations.
           
Nominee with term to expire in 2023 replacing trustee ineligible for re-election is C.B. Scott, associational missions strategist and member of First Baptist Church, McDowell, Ky., replacing David A. Parks, Lexington, Ky.
           
Also nominated for term to expire in 2023 is Brandon S. Carter, associate pastor, Cross Lanes Church, Cross Lanes, W.Va., replacing Randall D. Spurgeon, Ansted, W.Va., who declined to serve a second term.
           
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 is Briana Weathersby, layperson and member of Transcend Church, Harrisburg, Pa., replacing Paula M. Cordray, Pittsburgh, Pa., who resigned.
           
Nominated for second term are Erin S. Bounds, Odenville, Ala.; Eric L. Brown, Jonesboro, Ark.; Gary Yochum, Lanesville, Ind.; Andrew (Andy) Addis, Hutchinson, Kans.; Tanya K. York, Frankfort, Ky.; Alisa J. Henley, Kansas City, Mo.; Bill D. Richard, Moriarty, N.M.; Steve Hardy, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Stephen P. Spurgin, Miamisburg, Ohio; Danny Ringer, Elk City, Okla.
           
LIFEWAY CHRISTIAN RESOURCES (51 trustees): 13 nominations considered; 6 new trustees; 7 re-nominations.
           
Nominees with term to expire in 2023 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election include Douglas W. Falknor, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ark., replacing Wayne G. Story, Fayetteville, Ark.; Brad E. Graber, layperson and member of Castleview Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Ind., replacing Steven M. McNeil, Indianapolis, Ind.; Adam D. Dooley, pastor, First Baptist Church, Sunnyvale, Texas, replacing Michael J. (Mike) Stevens, Austin, Texas.
           
Also nominated for term to expire in 2023 is Sharon F. Greer, layperson and member of Orchard Baptist Church, Kingsley, Mich., replacing Rebecca (Becky) McCoy, Paris, Mich., who resigned.
           
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 is Billy W. Stewart, layperson and member of Clarke-Venable Baptist Church, Decatur, Miss., replacing D. Weldon Aultman, Indianola, Miss., who resigned.
           
Nominated for term to expire in 2020 is Judy A. Sonich, layperson and member of Bellewood Baptist Church, N. Syracuse, N.Y., replacing Kenneth A. Bledsoe, Aberdeen, N.J., who resigned.
           
Nominated for second term are Cheri Dempsay, Phoenix, Ariz.; Terenda Ann Wyant, Fairview Heights, Ill.; Marie Clark, Prairie Village, Kans.; William M. (Bill) Langley, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Tony McAlexander, Las Vegas, Nev.; Amy J. Mielock, Cary, N.C.; Katherine A. Pope, Martinsburg, W.Va.
           
THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (42 trustees): 9 nominations considered; 6 new trustees; 3 re-nominations.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustee ineligible for re-election are James O. Jenkins, director of church planting and member of Baptist Bible Fellowship, Shreveport, La., replacing David E. Hankins, Deville, La.; Curtis M. Hill, pastor, Ogletown Baptist Church, Newark, Del., replacing John W. Manry, Jarrettsville, Md.; James E. Briggs, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayette, Mo., replacing David C. Sheppard, St. Charles, Mo.; Bruce G. Chesser, pastor, First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tenn., replacing Chad P. Wilson, Jackson, Tenn.
      
Also nominated for term to expire in 2024 are Richard H. Stark III, minister of students and education, Berea First Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C., replacing Johnny J. Touchet, Piedmont, S.C., who declined to serve a second term; Peter R. (Pete) Schemm, pastor, Cave Spring Baptist Church, Roanoke, Va., replacing Billy F. Ross, Centreville, Va., who resigned.
      
Nominated for second term are James B. (Jim) Henry, Orlando, Fla.; Thomas R. Rush, Hartwell, Ga.; Richard L. Staab, Louisville, Ky.
      
SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (40 trustees): 8 nominations considered; 6 new trustees; 2 re-nominations.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election are Demetric Felton, Sr., pastor, Beyond the Walls Community Church, Temecula, Calif., replacing Guy G. Grimes, Fountain Valley, Calif.; Darius Nable, pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Cherry Hill, N.J., replacing George R. Tynes, Philadelphia, Pa.; Jonathan T. Hewett, pastor, First Baptist Church, Carrizo Springs, Texas, replacing Christopher B. (Bart) Barter, Farmersville, Texas.
      
Also nominated for term to expire in 2024 is Timothy G. (Tim) Williams, pastor, Roebuck Baptist Church, Roebuck, S.C., replacing Wayne D. Dickard, Easley, S.C., who declined to serve a second term.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 are Richard B. (Brad) Lewter, pastor, Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Smith, Ark., replacing Danny L. Johnson, Bryant, Ark., who resigned; Aaron Sligar, Living River Chapel, Sutton, W.Va., replacing Johnny A. Kelly, Martinsburg, W.Va., who resigned.
      
Nominated for second term are Ronald J. (Ron) Pracht, Wichita, Kan.; John M. Rayburn, Keller, Texas.
      
NEW ORLEANS BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (40 trustees): 7 nominations considered; 6 new trustees 1 re-nomination.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election are Daniel Martin, pastor, Tempe Christian Church, Tempe, Ariz., replacing William R. Bagwell, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sung Kyo Wee, pastor, New Life Church, Fremont, Calif., replacing Dan Wilson, Highland, Calif.; Fred M. Evers, pastor, Northside Baptist Church, Tifton, Ga., replacing Frank Cox, Lawrenceville, Ga.; Dana L. Keating, layperson and member of Dorrisville Baptist Church, Harrisburg, Ill., replacing Thomas L. Clore, Eldorado, Ill.; Roy O. (Roc) Collins III, director of strategic objectives and member of Clearview Baptist Church, Franklin, Tenn., replacing David E. Leavell, Millington, Tenn.; Amanda T. Walker, layperson and member of Cook Baptist Church, Ruston, La., replacing Jack G. Bell, Hornbeck, La.
      
Nominated for second term is Charles D. (Toby) Stewart, Williamsport, Pa.
      
SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (30 trustees): 8 nominations considered; 6 new trustees; 2 re-nominations.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustee ineligible for re-election are T. Danny Rumple, church planting/missions director and member of Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes, W.Va., replacing Douglas L. Jividen, Mishawaka, Ind.; Michael Cummings, pastor, Deep Branch Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C., replacing Charles M. Jacumin, Raleigh, N.C.; Mary M. (Beth) Wooten, layperson and member of Beulaville Baptist Church, Beulaville, N.C., replacing Donald L. Warren, Gastonia, N.C.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2022 are Harry Edward (Ed) Litton, Jr., pastor, Redemption Church, Saraland, Ala., replacing Gregory T. (Greg) Pouncey, Mobile, Ala., who resigned; Charles E. (Chuck) Jennings, pastor, Ridgewood Bible Church, Lockport, N.Y., replacing Alan W. McAlister, Clovis, N.M.
 
Nominated for second term are Sam F. Wheat, Ruston, La.; Arthur E. Werry, Fraser, Mich.
      
MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (35 trustees): 8 nominations considered; 5 new trustees; 3 re-nominations.
      
Nominee with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustee ineligible for re-election is Jason R. Gentry, pastor, Hallsville Baptist Church, Hallsville, Mo., replacing G. Richard (Rich) Hastings, Raytown, Mo.
      
Also nominated for term to expire in 2024 are Jeffrey L. Dial, pastor, Life Line Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark., replacing Ken F. Shaddox, North Little Rock, Ark., who declined to serve a second term; Darrow Perkins, Jr., pastor, Mesa View Baptist Church, Poway, Calif., replacing Robert A. Anderson, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., who declined to serve a second term; Douglas C. Rule, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss., replacing William J. (Billy) VanDevender, Jackson, Miss., who declined to serve a second term.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2021 is M. Lane Harrison, pastor, LifePoint Church, Ozark, Mo., replacing Jared Bumpers, Springfield, Mo., who resigned.
      
Nominated for second term are Charles S. Wesner, Wellton, Ariz.; Phyllis J. Mason, Randallstown, Md.; Jon L. Sapp, Topeka, Kan.
      
GATEWAY SEMINARY (39 trustees): 8 nominations considered; 3 new trustees; 5 re-nominations.
      
Nominee with term to expire in 2024 replacing trustee ineligible for re-election is Daniel Atkins, pastor, Taylor Road Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala., replacing Larry W. Felkins, Clanton, Ala.
      
Also nominated for term to expire in 2024 is Donald R. Yeager, pastor, Southside Southern Baptist Church, Parkersburg, W.Va., replacing Jacob Atchley, Martinsburg, W.Va., who resigned.
      
Nominated for term to expire in 2023 is Robert L. (Rob) Pengra, pastor, Hope International Church, Portland, Wash., replacing Myron W. Person, Spokane, Wash., who resigned.
      
Nominated for second term are Louis Egipciaco, Miami Lakes, Fla.; Andrew M. Dyer, London, Ky.; Arthur A. (Rally) deLeon, Raleigh, N.C.; Barbara E. Smith, Highland, Calif.; Vincent Hayes, Spring Valley, Calif.
      
ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION (34 trustees):  9 nominations considered; 4 new trustees; 5 re-nominations.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2023 replacing trustees ineligible for re-election include Nathan W. Lugbill, pastor, Castleview Church, Indianapolis, Ind., replacing J. D. Traylor, Hanover, Ind.; Traci D. Griggs, layperson and member of Fairview Baptist Church, Apex, N.C., replacing Tami L. Fitzgerald, Raleigh, N.C.; Juan R. Sanchez, pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas, replacing Barry K. Creamer, Dallas, Texas.
      
Also nominated for term to expire in 2023 is Miles S. Mullin II, vice president for academic administration and member of Calvary Baptist Church, Hannibal, Mo., replacing Tammie Andrews, Independence, Mo., who resigned.
      
Nominated for second term are Robert L. Orleck, Randolph, Vt.; Mike L. Wilson, Mansfield, Ohio; Justin T. Sampler, Inola, Okla.; Roger M. Manao, Philadelphia, Pa.; Trevor M. Atwood, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
      
COMMITTEE ON ORDER OF BUSINESS (7 members): 2 nominations considered; 2 new members.
      
Nominees with term to expire in 2022, replacing members ineligible for re-election include Steven F. Bates, layperson and member of First Baptist Church, Winnfield, La., replacing Brad Jurkovich, Bossier City, La.; C. Joyce Hall, layperson and member of Broadmoor Baptist Church, Madison, Miss., replacing Keith W. Sanders, Keller, Texas.

4/23/2019 9:40:40 AM by Baptist Press Staff | with 0 comments



NOBTS presidential search narrows to 4 candidates

April 23 2019 by Gary D. Myers, NOBTS

Frank Cox, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) trustee board chairman, updated the board on the status of the presidential search during their spring meeting, saying the committee had narrowed its focus to four top candidates.
 

BP file photo

The search committee, led by Cox, was formed last fall after Chuck Kelley announced his intention to retire on July 31, 2019. The committee encompasses 11 voting members – nine trustees, a faculty member and a student.
 
Cox cautioned the board not to believe everything published on Twitter and Baptist-related blogs regarding the presidential search. The process is not complete, but the committee remains unified in identifying “God’s man” for the job, Cox said.
 
“We started with about 20 candidates – great people – all 20 of them. Some were more qualified than others,” Cox said April 17. “We went through all of the candidates and we narrowed the scope down to four.
 
“We have interviewed four tremendous people,” he continued. “We are still in the process. ... [B]efore long we will have the person.”
 
Cox thanked the board for praying for the committee and allowing them to do their work without interference. He also addressed the rumor, by some, that Kelley sought to influence or direct the presidential search committee.
 
“I want you to know Dr. Kelley is not involved in the process,” Cox said. “He met with us for 30 minutes in our first meeting where he talked about his experience of being a candidate for president of New Orleans Seminary [during the last search].
 
“He has not told us how to conduct our process and he has not met with us again.”
 
Cox said the committee requests continued prayer as they seek God’s guidance and finish the task.
 
“We are just seeking God and doing our work,” Cox said. “We are on track, and I just ask that you continue praying for us as we move forward to the conclusion.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Gary D. Myers is director of public relations for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.)

4/23/2019 9:37:42 AM by Gary D. Myers, NOBTS | with 0 comments



Biweekly prayer calls bolster ‘Who’s Your One?’

April 22 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Every other Tuesday afternoon for 15 minutes, leaders across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pause for a conference call to pray for their “one” – the person they’re seeking to share the gospel with as part of the “Who’s Your One?” evangelistic initiative. The initiative is a joint effort between SBC President J.D. Greear and the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
 

Photo by Todd Unzicker
SBC President J.D. Greear, center prays with David Thompson, left, and Matt Miglarese during a “Who’s Your One?” conference call.

The calls, each led by a different Southern Baptist leader, began Feb. 5 and have grown largely by word-of-mouth and social media promotion. Everyone is invited to join the calls, including the next one April 30, which will be led by NAMB’s Johnny Hunt. NAMB President Kevin Ezell will lead the May 14 call.
 
“Fervent prayer is the foundation of ‘Who’s Your One?’ because salvation belongs to God – not to us,” said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area. “We’re asking that God would make us sensitive to the Spirit’s leading so He can use us as His instruments. The call is an opportunity for us as leaders to model the prayer that continues in homes and churches throughout the week.”
 
Hunt noted, “We absolutely must not underestimate the power and importance of prayer in this.”
 
“It has to be the foundation we build all of our efforts on when we share the gospel,” he said. “I have been so encouraged to know that people are praying for this effort around the world. It reminds me that the outcomes are not dependent on me or any human effort. The results and all of the credit are God’s alone.”
 
The concept of biweekly conference calls developed as Greear’s staff at The Summit planned “Who’s Your One?” with NAMB’s evangelism staff, said Matt Miglarese, a Summit pastor who helps coordinate the evangelistic initiative. Call leaders have included Greear, California pastor A.B. Vines and Donna Gaines, wife of immediate past SBC president Steve Gaines.
 
On the April 16 call, Donna Gaines told about personal witnessing efforts of people at her husband’s pastorate, Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. Among them, a 90-year-old woman led 15 people to faith in Christ during a recent hospitalization, and a visitation team’s witness last August bore fruit this month when a woman they visited decided to attend church amid a personal crisis and was saved.
 
“You never know how God’s going to use you going by and sharing the gospel and inviting someone to church,” Gaines said, “or just asking them how you might pray for them.”
 
Miglarese was listening to the call with a fellow Summit pastor, and both of them recently “had tried to initiate spiritual conversations that got shot down,” he said. The other pastor commented that “it was great to pray, and it was encouraging to hear where God is moving when I don’t see it immediately in front of me.”
 
As Gaines prayed, she asked fellow call participants to “lift the name or names of the people you’re praying for to the Lord right now.”
 
The calls all begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time and can be joined by dialing 515-604-3112. All participants other than the presenter are muted automatically.
 
A schedule of upcoming prayer calls is available at WhosYourOne.com, with calls scheduled through May 28. Also available at WhosYourOne.com is a 30-day prayer guide for individuals or groups.
 
“I’d invite every leader to put this prayer call on their calendar and join us for the next call April 30th,” Greear said.

4/22/2019 10:37:32 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



87-year-old pianist achieves dream of publishing song

April 22 2019 by Aaron Wilson, LifeWay Christian Resources

For the past 15 years, Wynness Thomas has been homebound, battling daily pain from arthritis of the spine and Parkinson’s disease. But this former church pianist and choir member at Tilly Swamp Baptist Church hasn’t let her age or ailments rob her of her love of music.
 


Submitted photo
Wynness Thomas was a church pianist, Sunday School teacher, directed the junior choir and sang in the adult choir. Thomas' love for music and writing harkens back to her childhood.

Thomas, 87, is now living out a dream she’s carried in her heart for decades – to have one of her songs published in a hymnal.
 
LifeWay Christian Resources recently published Thomas’ hymn “Praise to Thee, Blessed Trinity” on its digital hymnbook resource, LifeWayWorship.com. The song lyric follows the classic tune of the Doxology and features lines declaring praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
“To the best of my knowledge, Mrs. Thomas is now the oldest-living composer featured on LifeWayWorship.com,” said Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship. “She’s a special lady. I’m glad we were able to publish her beautiful lyric.”
 
Thomas’ love for music and writing harkens back to her childhood. She was born in 1931 in Dillon County, S.C. As a child growing up with four adult siblings and no other children in the home, Thomas began playing piano and writing stories to help pass the time and fight loneliness.
 
Friends say Thomas’ early years were also shaped by her involvement at Piney Grove Baptist Church near Lake View and in the Woman’s Missionary Union.
 
“Going to church was the high point of my week,” Thomas wrote in an entry on her church’s website. “[It] helped me become the person who loves Jesus that I am today.”
 
Thomas later went on to become a pianist for First Baptist Church, Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she also taught Sunday School, directed the junior choir and sang in the adult choir. In 1984, she and her husband, Fred – who is now 94 and acts as her primary caregiver – moved to Conway, where they joined Tilly Swamp Baptist Church. They’ve remained members there to this day.
 
“Mrs. Wynness has a passion for the lost in her family, her community, and the world,” said Scott Altman, pastor of Tilly Swamp Baptist Church. “She’s also a woman of prayer and praise. She desires for people to be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit without hesitation.”
 


LifeWay image
LifeWay Christian Resources recently published Wynness Thomas' hymn, "Praise to Thee, Blessed Trinity" on its digital hymnbook resource, LifeWayWorship.com. The song lyric follows the classic tune of the Doxology and features lines declaring praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Throughout the years, Thomas never gave up on her desire to write and publish. She authored The Grand Strand Coloring Book to teach children about South Carolina beaches and wrote Fruits of the Circuit Riding Missionaries, a publication that traces the history of 60 churches of the Waccamaw Baptist Association.
 
She also contributed to LifeWay publications including Mature Living, Open Windows and The Church Musician. But she never forgot about her dream of one day seeing her name attached to a published hymn.
 
At the age of 84, Thomas wrote to LifeWay, discussing her long history of involvement with church music, and included a submission of an original hymn she had composed.
 
Harland wrote back to Thomas and mailed her a signed copy of the Baptist Hymnal. A year later, Thomas sent another letter, this time attaching a new hymn she’d written with the request to have it published by LifeWay.
 
“I read the lyric and realized it was really good,” Harland said. “I thought, ‘There’s no reason not to include it on LifeWayWorship.com and let people be blessed by it’”
 
Harland called Thomas with the announcement she’d waited many decades to hear – she was going to be a published hymn writer. Thomas was delighted and made one request – that LifeWay handle any fan mail the song might attract.
 
“We’re thrilled to honor this 87-year-old church musician – not because we’re doing her a favor but because it’s a good song,” Harland said. “It’s such a wonderful thing to give her the special experience of having something published.”
 
Although Thomas’ ailments have stripped her of the ability to play piano at her church, the partnership with LifeWay Worship now gives her the opportunity to bless even more churches and future generations with her creative gifts.


Submitted photo
Fred and Wynness Thomas


“I think that was a part of her desire to be published,” Harland said. “To have something Christians can use in worship that would live on beyond her.”
 
Thomas’ motivation for writing, as revealed through one of her church website entries, doesn’t come from a desire for public recognition, but from a love of the Lord and the local church.
 
“I hope you will find time to pray for Tilly Swamp Church,” she writes, “that we will acknowledge our sins and be bold witnesses for Him in our neighborhood.”
 
Thomas ends her request for prayer with a line that characterizes a life dedicated to blessing others through music:
 
“I have written a song about that. Perhaps I can get a copy of it for you.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Aaron Wilson is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.)

4/22/2019 10:27:15 AM by Aaron Wilson, LifeWay Christian Resources | with 0 comments



‘Save Chick-fil-A Day’ promotes religious liberty

April 22 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Religious liberty advocates held “Save Chick-fil-A Day” at the Texas Capitol April 17 after the restaurant was banned from the San Antonio airport for donating to religious non-profits.
 

Submitted photo
Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz urged the public to attend a “Save Chick-fil-A Day” rally at the Texas Capitol as the legislature considered two bills that would strengthen religious liberty protections.

Religious freedom group Texas Values hosted the event in support of two bills before the Texas Legislature banning religious discrimination, weeks after the San Antonio City Council cited Chick-fil-A’s religious outreach as the sole reason for blocking the franchise from the San Antonio International Airport.
 
“We need to capture this moment and make it clear once and for all that government is not allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs and to pick winners and losers and ban stores from opening because of the religious beliefs of owners,” Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz said in advance of the event.
 
“It had nothing to do with how they treated anybody in their store, or how they treated someone in their restaurant,” Saenz said. “It’s about their personal beliefs and a donation that was made to the Salvation Army.”
 
Texas Values sponsored the event as the legislature held public hearings on House Bill 1035, dubbed the Free to Believe Act, which would provide freedom of conscience protections; and House Bill 3172, the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect religious beliefs and moral convictions regarding marriage. Both bills are still in committee.
 
Southern Baptist pastor Danny Forshee, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) ethicist Cindy Asmussen attended the event which, according to its Facebook page, drew more than 500 supporters to the capitol in the course of the day.
 
Forshee, pastor of Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin and chairman of the SBTC executive board, said Texas faces a “sad day, really, when you think about somebody can be persecuted and discriminated against in the great state of Texas solely upon their religious beliefs.
 
“[Chick-fil-A CEO] Dan Cathy’s heart is broken over this,” Forshee said. “We stand behind Chick-fil-A and we stand behind Bro. Jonathan here. And [we’re] just glad to be able to be one voice.”
 
The council decision is the latest in a string of objections to Chick-fil-A community involvement, stemming from Cathy’s 2012 statement that he supports a biblical definition of marriage that prohibits gay marriage.
 
First Liberty Institute and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are investigating the San Antonio City Council for its decision. First Liberty has asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate, charging the council with violating nondiscrimination laws as a federal grant recipient.
 
By a vote of 5-4, the San Antonio council refused April 18 to reconsider its March 21 vote that blocked Chick-fil-A from operating at the airport, with one councilman accusing the business of having a “legacy of hate” because it donates to charities considered to oppose LGBT rights. The council is among a growing number of groups in the U.S. to ban Chick-fil-A on similar accusations.
 
Cruz, sporting a Save Chick-fil-A sticker, said the council was making itself a worldwide laughing stock.
 
“What the San Antonio City Council is saying is Christians need not apply,” Cruz said. “Those who take your faith seriously need not apply and indeed you’re banned.
 

Photo from Facebook
After the San Antonio City Council banned Chick-fil-A from operating at San Antonio International Airport, Texas Values hosted a religious liberty day at the Texas Capitol dubbed “Save Chick-fil-A Day.”

“This is about religious persecution,” Cruz said. “This is about the fact that the leadership of Chick-fil-A are Christians and they don’t hide from that fact. They’re not apologizing. They’re not embarrassed about their faith.”
 
Chick-fil-A states as its purpose, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” All chain locations are closed on Sundays and the family-owned business has repeatedly maintained that it does not discriminate against the LGBT community.
 
Chick-fil-A did not comment to Baptist Press by press time today, but according to Texas Values, Chick-fil-A was not involved in the event.
 
“This effort is not being launched by the Chick Fil-A company and no one from the company or family is involved in proposing or promoting it,” Texas Values said at SaveChickfilA.com.
 
In corporate promotional material, Chick-fil-A lists 39 consecutive years of sales growth. The company was named “Best Franchise Brand” in 2018 by Airport Revenue News, and received a 2018 Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award as one of the best places to work.

4/22/2019 10:22:27 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



NAMB announces multisite, multi-format Send Conference

April 18 2019 by NAMB Staff

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) announced April 17 that its next Send Conference will happen through a series of local and regional conferences that will take place in more than 70 locations throughout North America beginning this fall.
 

NAMB photo
The North American Mission Board will host a series of Send 2020 events in 70 locations across North America beginning in fall 2019 and continuing through 2020.

“It’s about maximizing momentum,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. “What began as a plan to hopefully reach 18,000 people with a national event in Atlanta is now a plan to reach in excess of 200,000 by taking the events on the road.”
 
The local and regional approach will also allow different events to take on different formats. Some will consist of an evening session followed by a morning session and conclude by noon. Others will run for two nights and three days. Still others might be a single day or single evening in duration.
 
The focus of the conference series is to call every believer to actively share the gospel wherever God has placed them and to openly consider where God might be calling them to serve.
 
“In addition to allowing us to bring this important message to every corner of North America, this approach also gives us maximum flexibility to shape the event for specific audiences,” Ezell said. “The more we discussed this way of doing it, the more excited we became about the possibilities.”
 
Many of the events will be hosted by local churches. Plans also include events on or in close proximity to several university campuses.
 
“We will utilize a variety of speakers and musicians, depending on our location and the needs of the audience we are trying to reach,” Ezell said.
 
Part one of the tour will commence this fall with Johnny Hunt featured as the main speaker. Those events will kick off with a Sunday evening program focused on evangelism for every member of the church. The next morning, pastors and church leaders will return to attend an equipping session geared toward helping them train and mobilize their congregations for evangelism. NAMB has already secured 18 locations for these events.
 
“Every Southern Baptist who wants to attend will have access to at least one of these events,” Hunt said. “I’m praying that over this 18-month period we will see God sweep through our Southern Baptist family in a way we haven’t seen in decades. We are doing all we can to ignite a spark that we hope will re-start the fires of evangelism.”
 
More details, a schedule and registration information will be available soon at send2020.com.
 
Watch a video about NAMB’s Send Conference:

 

4/18/2019 10:06:35 AM by NAMB Staff | with 0 comments



Chonda Pierce’s ‘Unashamed’ in theaters May 7 & 9

April 18 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Chonda Pierce is at a new stage in life. Widowhood and online dating give new material to her comedy routine, but her latest film “Unashamed” goes beyond her own testimony.
 

Chonda Pierce

“This time in my life, I want the testimony of this movie to be about what Jesus did, and not about what I did, not what I’ve been through necessarily,” Pierce told Baptist Press (BP) in advance of the film’s release. “I want it to be about what the cross of Christ has meant to my life. And I think we accomplished that.”
 
In Unashamed, Pierce interviews both well-known and little known Christians on their commitment to stand for Christ amid cultural backlash. Featured are real estate entrepreneurs and identical twins David and Jason Benham, who lost an HGTV contract because of their stand for biblical marriage; former Arkansas Gov. and U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Newsboys frontman Michael Tait, and Dove Award-winning singer and songwriter Danny Gokey. A variety of professionals including school teachers, comedians and others are also in the mix, Pierce told BP.
 
Christians aren’t persecuted in the U.S. as in other countries where many face death or imprisonment, Pierce said, but Christians here are sometimes shunned in the public square and elsewhere.
 
“I want to encourage young people and every person, don’t be afraid to stand up for Jesus, because He’s going to stand up for you and push you forward in ways you never dream or imagine,” Pierce said. “This movie is really there to empower and to bring hope and encouragement to people who walk out there and be salt and light when they have to be.”
 
Pierce is also on a 40-city comedy tour, “Chonda Pierce: Still Laughing,” through June 8.
 
Unashamed comes from personal triumphs Pierce shared in her 2017 documentary “Enough.” Showing on more than 1,000 U.S. screens May 7 and 9 only, Unashamed is Pierce’s largest release to date.
 
“I think it is a continuation. Enough was a concept about learning and knowing that you are enough,” Pierce told BP. “And that’s an ongoing lesson. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your self-esteem doesn’t get picked up off the floor in one fell swoop.
 

“When you really want to find some healing and hope, the best thing in the world to do is find your identity in the Word of God,” she said. “It empowers you – this document, this loving, beautiful book – that when I am discouraged, when I am unsure of myself, when I am worried about life, when I am feeling alone, all of those things are addressed in God’s Word.
 
“If that is so,” Pierce said, “then how in the world can I be ashamed of calling myself a Christ follower?”
 
The movie releases in advance of Mother’s Day, drawing from Pierce’s strong following among women. But many of those interviewed in the film are men, a move that Pierce describes as strategic.
 
“I think that’s kind of neat that they can speak into the lives of women. If I may be so bold to say, we are not doing well in attracting men into the church,” Pierce said. “The male species is a dying breed in the pew. And I think strategically I wanted to highlight some very strong men who have stood up for the gospel, and hopefully it draws young boys and men” to stand for the gospel.
 
Director Rick Altizer of Fuseic Entertainment kept the movie balanced with comedy and interviews, Pierce said. Unashamed features an opening comedy routine, interviews, a panel discussion and an exclusive interview with Pierce.
 
“We’re really at a tough place, and I think our young people need to know that there’s power in the cross of Christ, and there is hope in the cross of Christ,” she said, “and there is a way of living your life with that in mind constantly.”
 
Pierce has held since 2013 the distinction as Recording Industry Association of America’s top-selling female comedian in history, including Christian and secular artists. Her comedy has produced six Platinum DVDs, three Gold DVDs and five Daytime Emmy nominations.
 
Tickets to Unashamed are available through FathomEvents.com and ChondaMovie.com. Her comedy tour schedule is available at chonda.org.

4/18/2019 10:01:48 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Notre Dame Cathedral fire spurs ‘rightful mourning’

April 17 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

A fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – lamented in media reports as the marring of a historic French symbol – has deep theological significance some observers may have missed, say evangelical scholars of culture and art.
 


Screen capture from CBS News
A fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris April 15 destroyed the building’s spire and two-thirds of the roof

“Notre Dame is the handiwork of those who self-identified as Christian, and it testifies to the essential Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe,” said Mark Coppenger, a The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary philosophy professor who supervises doctoral students studying Christianity and the arts.

A fire was detected at the cathedral April 15 shortly before 7 p.m. local time, according to media reports. The blaze destroyed Notre Dame’s 295-foot spire and two-thirds of its roof before being extinguished April 16 by some 500 firefighters. The fire left three holes in the vaulted ceiling.
 
No one died in the blaze, but three first responders were injured, The New York Times reported. The fire’s cause has not been determined.

 

Parisians gathered spontaneously to sing hymns, pray and watch the fire burn, according to media reports. At least some works of art and Catholic relics were saved from the burning cathedral, including a crown of thorns some claim was the one placed on Jesus at His crucifixion.
 
Some 13 million people visit the cathedral annually, according to the Associated Press.
 
“Though we Baptists don’t share the sacramental theology of the Roman Catholic Church and are not practitioners of Marian devotion (regarding ‘Our Lady’ [the English translation of ‘Notre Dame’]) ... Christians of every stamp, including evangelicals, have gained spiritual blessing from [the cathedral’s] magnificent interior,” Coppenger told Baptist Press in written comments.
 
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said “a rightful mourning ... should come to evangelicals” following the fire even though Protestants do not embrace the Catholic “sacramentarianism that takes place in Notre Dame Cathedral.”
 
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Mohler said, the cathedral is shaped like a cross. Its cross-topped spire pointed upward to honor “the reigning Jesus Christ,” and its Gothic architecture symbolizes the “greatness” and “transcendence of God.”
 
“Parisians, watching with broken hearts the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral, saw so much last night,” Mohler said April 16 on his podcast The Briefing. “But those who would think through the lens of Christian truth and biblical Christianity do not see less, but actually far more.”
 
Dan DeWitt, associate professor of applied theology and apologetics at Cedarville University, said “the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a reminder of the significance of symbols. All art is reflective of the worldview of both the artists and their audiences. This great Gothic cathedral has stood for centuries as the most iconic symbol of the city of Paris.”
 
The cathedral’s history, Mohler said, has mirrored the history of France’s shifting worldview.
 
During the French Revolution, when human reason was emphasized and the authority of scripture downplayed, a statue of the Virgin Mary in the cathedral was replaced by one of the Goddess Reason. Later, the cathedral was rededicated to a generic Cult of the Supreme Being and became a warehouse for food when locals lost interest in the new religion, according to The Gospel Coalition website.
 
The cathedral eventually became a Catholic church once again, though it is owned by the French government.
 
Beyond its Christian – and sometimes explicitly Catholic – symbolism, Coppenger said, Notre Dame “is one of the greatest testimonies to the artistry and diligence of those made in the image of God.”
 
“The same could be said of the Moorish (Muslim) Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Angkor Wat (Hindu) complex in Cambodia,” Coppenger said. “Even when we very much disagree with the worldview lying behind the construction, we have to admire the human craftsmanship and aesthetic acumen that went into these projects and wish their continued presence.”
 
Donors have pledged at least $700 million to repair the cathedral, Fox News reported.
 
DeWitt, an artist who has taught on human creativity, said “it will be interesting to listen to the global conversations surrounding what is done in the aftermath of this cultural loss.”
 
“It is thought that a pagan temple once occupied the ground where Notre Dame is now located,” DeWitt said in written comments. “Throughout the history of the city, four other churches preceded Notre Dame at this address. Every new development is an expression of cultural values. What comes next – rebuilding, reconstruction or something else – will say a lot about the predominant cultural worldview, whether the art is a monument to man or God.”

4/17/2019 10:11:54 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Hate crime charges added in Louisiana church arsons

April 17 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Hate crime charges have been filed against a white man accused of arson that destroyed three Louisiana black Baptist churches more than a century old.
 

Screen capture from Facebook
Among community outreach to Baptist congregations whose churches were burned in what authorities are calling a hate crime, Louisiana Gov. John Bell Edwards spoke at an April 14 service hosted by Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Opelousas.

Holden Matthews, 21, pleaded not guilty April 15 to the charges in St. Landry Parish Criminal Court, according to the St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court’s office. Matthews is charged with three counts of hate crimes, two counts of simple arson of a religious building and one count of aggravated arson of a religious building, and was denied bond.
 
James Jenkins, who is coordinating Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) outreach to the pastors whose churches burned, told Baptist Press (BP), “Whatever reason it would occur to a person to burn a church or any other piece of property, I think when this type of thing occurs it causes friction in the communities, and the effects may be long-lasting if we’re not very careful.”
 
The pastors’ churches are affiliated with the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., (NBC USA) whose president Jerry Young preached at the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis. Mount Pleasant and Greater Union Baptist churches in Opelousas and St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre lost their buildings in the fires. No deaths were reported.
 
Edward Alexander Jr., president of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention of the NBC USA, has pledged support to help the churches rebuild.
 
“Church attendance is an act of faith and in the United States of America no one should worship in fear,” Alexander said in an April 11 press release. “These churches are built on a foundation of hope and faith in Christ Jesus; hatred cannot and will not triumph.”
 
Southern Baptist pastors in Louisiana are already making plans to help financially, Jenkins said, and the LBC is working to finalize its outreach assessment by the end of April after insurance companies respond. Several agencies also are working to help the churches, Jenkins said.
 
“I’m just hoping that out of this hate ... there’s a rebirth of love,” Jenkins told BP. “Hence that needs to be the LBC response, to take this opportunity really to love on some people and make sure that the communities ... here in St. Landry Parish and Opelousas understand that our churches are clearly on the side of love, clearly on the side of our Christian brothers and sisters.
 
“We hold dearly the right for people to congregate, to worship in the manner that they see fit, without any problems, without any bother,” Jenkins said. “We believe that in the end, heaven is going to be made of all nations, all tongues and all creeds. Since that is so, we just best learn to love each other here.”
 
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke at a service of unity, prayer and healing April 14 at Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, a National Baptist congregation in Opelousas.
 
“Hate is not a Louisiana value,” Edwards was quoted by The Baton Rouge Advocate as saying. “We will not be measured by what happened here in this community by the acts of that young man, but we will be measured rather by how we respond, which is what we’re doing today. It’s what we’ll be doing for the next several weeks and several months.”
 
Matthews, on a Facebook page under the name Noctis Matthews, has spoken ill of Baptists, KTLA5 reported April 15, saying Matthews wrote he wished “most blacks people would look into ancient beliefs of pre Christian Africa.”

4/17/2019 10:08:28 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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